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We are asked: What is the interpretation of a sentence in that excellent little book Light on the Path by Mabel Collins, which runs "For within you is the light of the world--the only light that can be shed upon the Path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere. It is beyond you; because when you reach it you have lost yourself. It is unattainable because it forever recedes. You will enter the light but you will never touch the flame."

The meaning of this mysterious sentence is that the sage refuses to claim the ultimate mergence which is his right because he refuses to desert "the great orphan Humanity." He stops short at the very threshold of Nirvana simply to remain here and help others reach that threshold. Thus by his altruistic activity, meditative power, and intellectual penetration he continuously earns a title to that utter absorption of his ego in the unutterable Absolute which is Nirvana, but by his continuous self-giving for suffering mankind he never actually attains this goal. This extraordinary situation may be represented mathematically by the asymptote--a line which is drawn on a graph to approach nearer and nearer to a given curve but which never actually touches it within a finite distance. Only a man who feels with and for his fellow creatures will dare to make such a tremendous sacrifice of the supreme peace which he has won. How much more generous, how nobly grander is this example of ever-active altruistic service than that of ever-idle meditative reclusiveness!

-- Notebooks Category 25: World-Mind in Individual Mind > Chapter 4: The Sage's Service > # 14

-- Perspectives > Chapter 25: World-Mind in Individual Mind > # 43

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